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Attorney General to review cases where Professor David Southall acted as a prosecution witness

(6 Posts)
LunarSea Tue 20-Feb-07 13:39:54

From The Guardian

Attorney general to review paediatrician's cases

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, is to review cases that involved the consultant paediatrician Professor David Southall as a prosecution witness, it was announced today.
Prof Southall, who has been accused of acting inappropriately, is currently facing a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing.

The doctor is alleged to have kept around 4,450 "special" case files on children, which were not stored on the child's proper hospital record. These included some cases that later involved a criminal prosecution.

Lord Goldsmith's spokesman said there were concerns that proper disclosure of medical records may not have been made.
The review will go back more than 10 years, examining all 4,450 of the special files created by Prof Southall, who practised from London's Royal Brompton Hospital and the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary in Stoke-on-Trent.

In a written ministerial statement, the attorney general said: "It is said that Prof Southall kept so-called special case files containing original medical records relating to his patients that were not also kept on the child's proper hospital file.

"Concerns have been raised that, in some of those cases, criminal proceedings may have been taken but the existence of the files not revealed, resulting in their not being disclosed as part of the prosecution process. I share those concerns.

"What is not clear at this stage is the nature and extent of the failure of disclosure, if such it be.

"I have therefore decided that I will conduct an assessment of the cases where Prof Southall was instructed as a prosecution witness to determine if any special case files existed in any cases involving criminal proceedings. Once that assessment has been completed, I will decide what, if any, further review is required."

Previous research has already revealed that Prof Southall appeared as a witness in cases of sudden infant death. Doctors engaged as prosecution witnesses are obliged to reveal all their material - including an index of any unused material - to defence lawyers.

Prof Southall was found guilty of serious professional misconduct in 2004 after he accused the solicitor Sally Clark's husband, Steve, of murdering two of their sons on the basis of watching a TV programme.

In the current GMC hearing, he is accused of 18 charges of tampering with medical records, keeping secret medical files and abusing his position in relation to four children. He denies serious professional misconduct.

In a GMC hearing last November, one mother said Prof Southall had accused her of drugging and hanging her 10-year-old son and then reported her to the police, despite having no evidence to indicate foul play.

The mother, identified only as Mrs M, told a disciplinary panel that the doctor had used a "very aggressive and sarcastic" tone when questioning her about the death.

Her son, known as M1, died after he fastened a belt around his neck and hung it from a curtain pole in the family home in June 1996. An inquest recorded an open verdict, saying there was not evidence to say for sure whether the death had been intended suicide or an accident.

The GMC also heard that another mother, identified only as Mrs H, spent years trying to find information from her son's medical file after it was moved from the Royal Brompton to the Staffordshire hospital by Prof Southall. She him of treating the boy, Child H, like a "lab rat".

As a result of the family's involvement with Prof Southall from March 1989, Child H became a ward of court, the GMC heard.

The hearing has been adjourned until November.

expatinscotland Tue 20-Feb-07 13:41:38

Another person, like Ray Meadows, whom I hope spends an eternity rotting in Hell for what he did - if there is such a place.

There's no course of justice that will ever be sufficient for this pitiful excuse of a man.

expatinscotland Tue 20-Feb-07 13:42:10

Sorry, Roy. I just get so when I think of 'doctors' like these.

I wish them every ill there is to be had in the entire world.

NorksBride Tue 20-Feb-07 14:01:16

Callisto Tue 20-Feb-07 14:22:41

Total bastard. Should have been struck off years ago.

mummytosteven Tue 20-Feb-07 23:52:18

about bloody time.

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